This interview begins a major season of interviews and news as the Company arrive in London shortly.
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?
To be honest I don’t think anything can motivate me at 8am on any day of the week. In saying that, there are always so many things to learn and improve upon that once I’m at work I feel as though there aren’t enough hours in the day ! In order to come closer to achieving your goals there is no alternative but to get up and get on with it.
Who would you most like to dance with ?
I’d love to dance with Tamara Rojo in a ballet that evokes a lot of emotion as she has so much passion and is such a great artist. I really enjoy working and dancing with Natasha Oughtred. I think we have a good rapport. Physically and artistically we complement each other and we work really well together. For me, artistry is so important, you have to know your partner is right there with you.
I try to get to the gym in the morning to focus on both my upper body strength and cardiovascular fitness and then it’s off to work to (hopefully) fit in some Pilates before class. If I can, I then try to squeeze in some extra strengthening work between rehearsals but every day is pretty much full of rehearsals at the moment.
What are you looking forward to dancing this year ?
I’m looking forward to Swan Lake and the technical challenges that you encounter as Siegfried. Most of all I’m looking forward to playing Romeo since it is one of my favourite roles. This is because it has everything in it from exciting fights, beautiful pas de deux, technical challenges as well as providing the opportunity to portray a great character. I have to say that there’s no other feeling like that of performing the final scene. Dying, ironically, can be a lot of fun !
You can ask 6 famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?
Alex Ferguson, Roger Federer, David Attenborough, Tiger Woods, Cheryl Cole and someone from my neck of the woods, Jamie Oliver (who would obviously be doing the cooking !)
What would surprise people about you ?
I love travelling and I’m really hoping to climb/trek Mount Kilimanjaro in the near future. I think it would be a great sense of achievement and would make me a stronger person. This sort of life experience can prove to be invaluable to a dancer as I believe it can give you a wider range of emotions to draw from making performances more believable.
Who inspired you to dance ?
As a child I idolised Rudolph Nureyev. My Mum used to have a few videos lying around and my favourite was Le Corsaire in which he danced with Margot Fonteyn. As a student I used to look up to Irek Mukhamedov and then later also to Carlos Acosta. I loved both their strength and passion. I would watch them on DVD in slow motion trying to work out how to perform all the amazing tricks and understand Carlos’ pirouette technique.
How would someone else describe you ?
Generally I think people would describe me as a fairly quiet person. I guess I’m quite shy.
What is your best piece of advice ?
Believe in yourself.
Which role has tested you the most and how ?
Edward 11 came at a time when I knew I really had to prove myself to the boss. It’s a ballet of high drama (Bintley makes a great story ballet) and to pull it off I knew I had to do a lot of research and preparation outside the studio. There are some technically difficult moments both dancing and partnering, and towards the end of the ballet you’re almost completely naked so I had to spend hours at the gym !
I love playing a complex character; playing Edward you go through a whole range of emotions in such a short space of time. My favourite moment is the pas de deux with your lover’s head (Edward’s lover was beheaded). I think that was the first time I actually cried on stage. The transformation from pain to anger in order to get revenge at the end of Act 1 is exhilarating ! Alongside Romeo, Edward is my favourite role to date.
What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you ?
Probably a golfing experience : it was the first time I played golf with my Granddad (who plays four times a week at his club). I was stood at the first tee, right in front of the clubhouse and I completely miss hit the ball. It hit a bin that was level with the tee three metres to the right and then flew back into the car park behind us ! My Dad was running around the car park looking for the ball and my Granddad looked so embarrassed. I’m surprised he’s ever let me play with him again !
If you designed your own costume what would you create ?
It would have to be something minimal and completely unrestricting. I hate being restricted by a costume. Sometimes it feels as if the designer forgets that they’re designing for ballet.
What are you most proud of ?
I’m proud to have achieved what I’ve always wanted, which is to be a Principal dancer. It’s made all the sacrifices worthwhile !
A phrase I use far too often is …
“Do you know what I mean ?” I have a habit of finishing a lot of my sentences with this phrase and it really annoys my girlfriend !
Who would play you in the film of your life ?
I’d love to play myself – you might have guessed from my previous answers that I love acting. It’s one of my favourite elements of ballet and I’d love to have the opportunity to pursue acting one day. When I was just starting to get opportunities at work I was cast to do Mercutio (from Romeo & Juliet), and I’d never really played a character before. I was dreading it but decided that if I didn’t really go for it and looked embarrassed then it would be awful. Now those are my favourite sort of roles.
What is your favourite quote ?
Never give up !
What’s on your iPod ?
I listen to a variety of music. I’m a big fan of the Kings of Leon but I also like chilling out to artists like Jack Johnson and Ray Lamontagne.
What makes you a good dance partner ?
That’s a difficult question to answer as dancers are generally not very positive about themselves. I guess I do try to always prioritise the needs of my partner above my own, which I’m sure any ballerina would appreciate.
Do you have a secret skill which no-one knows about ?
I make a killer banana bread !
Describe yourself in just three words…
Tall, Dark and Handsome ? Just kidding ! I suppose I’d have to say determined, passionate and maybe a little bit stubborn.